{25} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal.  Incredible story and extremely inspirational.  Would recommend to anyone, not just the ladies.

writing  In Nico’s baby book.  I have a few months of catching up to do with all his new milestones!  

listening  “Talk Dirty” by Jason DeRulo.  As a former sax player, I had to give a shout out to the awesome solo work in this song.

thinking  It’s been a bit of a crazy few weeks for me and my family.  We lost my beloved Granny recently, and although she was 93 years old, it was  sudden and a bit of a shock for all of us.  After losing my Uncle earlier this year, it’s been rough for everyone, especially my Mom.  I cannot imagine losing my own mother, and I know this has got to be incredibly difficult for her.  My Granny was the sweetest lady, and I miss her dearly.  I am comforted in the fact that I was able to be by her side in her last week along with the rest of our family, and that she was comfortable and knew we were all with her at the end.  I truly appreciate all of the love, prayers, cards, and support that people have given us during this time.

smelling  The great outdoors.  Spent Zack’s 1st Father’s Day Weekend hiking Bear Mountain on Saturday, and Sunday was spent smelling the sweet salt air at Rockaway Beach.  I would definitely recommend the Perkins Memorial 3.9 mile trail loop.  Amazing views and a challenging, fun hike.  I impressed myself by doing a few rock scrambles with a baby on my back as well, and we were able to introduce Nico to his first ride…the carousel!  Onto the beach…if my fellow New Yorkers make it to Rockaway this summer, you must go to 106th street for arepas at Caracas.  I insist!  P.S. Nico LOVED the beach.  That’s my boy!

watching  Watched the throwback movie Big for the first time with one of my favorite actors of all time, Tom Hanks.  Although the method of getting “bigger” was a tad cheesy, I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it.

wishing  For the weekend to get here!  We are heading to Cape May for the first time for a family vacation with the hubby’s side.  Looking forward to snuggling that little nephew of ours, and spending time with the entire fam.  Have any of you been to Cape May before?  Would love some suggestions on what to do/where to eat/where to shop, etc.!

hoping  That Nico feels less pain when the rest of his teeth come in…yes, you heard right…Nico got his first tooth this weekend!  My boy is getting big.  

wearing  This new vintage style bathing suit I purchased from Grey Dog Boutique.  Discovered this shop from Bonnie over at Flashes of Style.  Go say hi!

loving  The the line-up of summer travel we have on the horizon.  While driving long distances can sometimes be draining, Zack and I are always up for an adventure, and this summer will be no different even with a little one in tow.  We started off the summer in New Hampshire with good friends, enjoyed upstate NY last weekend, and have Cape May to round out the month of June.  July we will be heading to Rehobeth Beach (DE), North Fork (Long Island), Deep Creek Lake (MD), and celebrating my 30th (eek!).  Ending the summer will be a trip to the Outer Banks (NC) and celebrating Nico’s 1st birthday.  Some may call us crazy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

laughing  I’m not a cat person, but this kitten jam had me rolling!  

wanting  This shocking coral lip color for the season.

needing  Some more time with girlfriends.  I’ve been loving the family life without a doubt, and I love my boys to death, but sometimes a girl needs some quality time with her girlfriends too!  Hoping to set up a few “girl-dates” while the weather is nice and warm. 

feeling  A second needle injection into my thumb this morning.  OUCH.  My thumb has definitely gotten a lot better since the first shot, but it’s still not completely back to normal, and as the doc said “I am too young to have this problem!”  Not to mention how impossible it is to “rest your thumb.”  I really do hope this one will curb me from having to undergo surgery, but worst case scenario, I have heard it’s a fairly simple procedure.

craving  More time to work on this blog and other personal endeavors/passion projects.  My creativity is bursting at the seams with very little time to act!  I’ve always been great with time management, but juggling work, caring for a baby, and our social/travel calendar have made things a bit more tricky.  I know it’s tough to “have it all,” but I’m determined to come up with a way to make things work without sacrificing my family time.

clicking  Nico is pulling himself up to a standing position, and I think it’s time for some functional shoes for summer.  I’ve been searching around online, but does anyone have any favorites they love for their little one?

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What have you been up to lately?

Happy Hump Day!

Love,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

My 1st Mother’s Day

What a wonderful 1st Mother’s Day spent with my boys!  I relaxed this weekend, and we also took a day trip to Coney Island which means I didn’t spend much time writing posts.  However, I did snap a lot of photos, which I will be sharing in the next couple weeks.  My favorite gifts are ones that are made with love and pull at my heart strings.  This gift from my amazing husband had me in tears as he compiled a bunch of our videos of our son, Nico, who is now 8 months old (almost 9 now…eek!)  It’s crazy how much you forget about each little step along the way because your baby keeps growing and changing and you have to keep up.  Watching this video really hit me hard, because you cannot rewind those little moments.  He will never be that tiny again.  Seeing him with so little hair, making those squeaky little sounds he used to make, hating tummy time with a passion, when he really looked at me for the first time, trying those first bites of food, the first giggle, when he loved sleeping on my chest…you cannot get that back.  We are forever pushing forward.  Which of course, in and of itself is also extremely exciting.  I love thinking about all the other firsts Nico will accomplish…but it’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing you cannot go back to when he was tiny…and it gut punches you when you realize how fast this is all going.

Nico, it has been a pleasure and a joy to be your Mom these past 8.5 months.  I love you forever.

And a special belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms I know in my life.  I am lucky to have wonderful grandmother’s, aunts, a godmother,  ladies that I can call 2nd moms, and a fantastic mother-in-law.  Most importantly, I am so lucky to have my Mom.  She has shown me what it takes to be a good mom, sister, daughter, and friend.  I now understand all the hard work, time, and effort you put in to raise me.  I love you so much, and I cannot thank you enough for being my rock.  I love our nightly chats on my walk home from the subway, and you are already an amazing Mimi to our Nico.

XO,

Gina

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Pasta Fagioli

“When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore…” – Dean Martin

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On New Year’s Day, I spent my time exercising, doing laundry, and whipping up a big ol’ pot of pasta fagioli! (pronounced “pasta fazool” by us Italian Americans.)  Like a lot of other favorite Italian dishes, this one also started out as a peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients (i.e. pasta and beans).  Families have since passed down their recipes from generation to generation, and each family has their own little twist on this tasty little soup.

I remember eating this dish at my grandparent’s house when I was a kid, and this winter I had the sudden urge to recreate this in my own home.  My grandmother passed the recipe down to my aunt who then in turn passed it down to myself.  This was my first crack at making pasta fagioli, and according to my husband, it turned out wonderful!  Of course, being me, I added a few of my own twists and turns to the recipe that I will share with you.  Warning: I had to break out the lobster pot (my largest pot), and we ate this soup for an entire week (even after giving a large batch to my neighbors!)  Be prepared, this produces more soup that you might think!

Ok here we go…

1 – 16 oz. bag of navy or cannellini beans (or any white beans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large diced onion

4-6 cloves crushed garlic

4-6 stalked chopped celery

4-6 chopped carrots

1/2 small boneless ham (cubed)

2 – 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes

3-4 bay leaves

1 bottle white cooking wine

32 oz. chicken stock

salt and pepper

oregano

crushed red pepper

1 lb. small macaroni (or pasta of choice)

Romano cheese (topping)

Wash beans in a colander.  Put beans in a pot and cover with water 2 inches above the beans.  Boil for approximately 2 minutes.  Let it cool and sit for one hour.  Return beans to colander and rinse well under cold water.  Set aside.

In a large pot, saute the garlic, onions, celery and carrots in the olive oil for 3-5 minutes until onions are iridescent.  Add ham, beans, 1 can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper.  Also add some white cooking wine, chicken stock, and water to taste.  (You don’t have to use the full bottles at this time.  I ended up using it all eventually as the soup cooked down, but I started with just enough liquid to cover all the ingredients.  The original recipe just called for water to cover the ingredients, but I decided to kick up the flavor with the white cooking wine and chicken stock.)  Cook until the beans are tender.  This took me about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Keep checking!  As the liquid cooks down, add the second can of tomatoes (original recipe called for one can, but again, I wanted more tomato flavor), more cooking wine, chicken stock, and water to taste.  You can add as much or as little as you want depending on how thick vs. brothy you want the soup to be.  The important thing is to make sure the beans are fully cooked.

Cook the macaroni separate, then add as much of it to the soup as you want per portion.  I ended up putting all of the cooked pasta right into the soup pot, but some people might want less pasta in their portion.  Serve in bowls.  Last but not least, top the dish off with some freshly grated Romano cheese!  As you can see from my photos above, I like a lot of cheese.

If you decide to serve up some pasta fagioli using my family recipe this winter, please let me know how it goes!

Buon Appetito!

Gina

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